PUD TAKES PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES, CLOSES OFFICES TO PUBLIC
Jefferson County PUD is taking precautionary measures to both protect the health and safety of its customers and staff and to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of utility services.
Beginning Monday March 16th, PUD General Manger Kevin Streett has announced that all PUD offices and facilities will close to the public. Customers are encouraged to use the PUD’s online bill pay and account management services via its website, jeffpud.org. Customers can also pay by phone or call to speak to customer service representatives at (360) 385-5800 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 4:30pm.
“Because our main office is currently under construction, PUD staff have been working out of small, temporary buildings that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of viruses or germs,” said Streett. “Our customer service office is especially small, and it is near impossible for us to perform the sort of social distancing and sanitizing measures recommended to stop or slow transmission. Therefore, to protect both our customers and our staff, I have made the difficult decision to close all PUD facilities to the public starting Monday.”
Streett and his team are also putting together a plan to protect PUD staff through increased social distancing, work from home options, and siloing of essential first-responder staff into separate locations. “We have to have our line and water crews healthy and ready to respond at a moment’s notice,” said Streett. “We are taking steps to reduce contact between crews and other staff. We are also training our crews on social distancing measures with members of the public. We generally ask customers to keep away from crew in the field when they are working, but for the next few weeks to months, it’s essential.”
Streett is aware that not all PUD customers are able to take advantage of online or over the phone payment technologies. The PUD has 6 secure payment drop-boxes around the county. Streett noted that drop-boxes are for checks only and any payments made to our drop boxes will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are opened and posted to accounts.
For those customers who can only pay cash, Streett asks that they call the PUD to make individual payment arrangements. “It is not our goal to put an undue burden on any customer. We can in some cases waive late fees or even shut-offs due to difficulties caused by our office closure or financial hardships due to the impact of the virus, but the customer has to contact us so we can document the arrangement, which is something we’d do even if we weren’t closing our customer service office.”
According to Streett, the PUD is not cancelling the regular public meeting of its Board of Commissioners on March 17, at 5pm in the Jefferson Transit board room. He noted that subsequent meetings may be held remotely. Updates to the meeting schedule and instructions on remote participation for members of the public will be made available on the PUD’s website if this occurs.
For more information contact:
Will O’Donnell, PUD Communications Manager (360) 385-8369